ALBANY — When Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo created the Commission to Investigate Public Corruption in early July, he promised a muscular response to bad behavior by legislators that included allegations of bribe taking, favor trading and embezzlement.But three months later, according to people familiar with the commission’s work, the effort to investigate corruption in Albany is burdened by resistance from the Legislature, which has refused requests for information about lawmakers’ outside income, and by unexpected involvement by the governor’s office, which has leaned on the commission to limit the scope of its investigations....The commission’s relationship with the governor’s office has also been freighted. It issued a flurry of subpoenas at the start, but then was slowed by Mr. Cuomo’s office in several instances, according to people familiar with the situation who insisted on anonymity because they feared retribution by the governor.In one such instance, when the commission began to investigate how a handful of high-end residential developers in New York City won tax breaks from Albany, its staff drafted, and its three co-chairmen approved, a subpoena of the Real Estate Board of New York. But Mr. Cuomo’s office persuaded the commission not to subpoena the board, whose leaders have given generously to Mr. Cuomo’s campaign, and which supported a business coalition, the Committee to Save New York, that ran extensive television advertising promoting his legislative agenda.Frank Marino, a spokesman for the board, said it was “cooperating with the commission and will continue to do so.”“Obviously, there’s discussions,” said Mr. Marino, who added that the real estate board had had no conversations with the governor’s office or the commission about subpoenas.The commission also abandoned a plan to subpoena the State Democratic Party, which spent millions on advertising this year to support Mr. Cuomo. The subpoena was part of an investigation into loosely regulated spending on political advertising; as part of that inquiry, the commission issued subpoenas to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and the State Independence Party.At a recent meeting, according to a person familiar with the exchange, one of the commission co-chairmen, William J. Fitzpatrick, the Onondaga County district attorney, said that the panel would subpoena the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee rather than the state party; the Senate committee has not been a player in Mr. Cuomo’s campaigns. Mr. Fitzpatrick has said any claim the commission is not independent is “categorically false.”The commission’s decisions not to issue subpoenas to the real estate board and the state Democratic Party were first reported by The Daily News.One lawyer familiar with the commission’s work said the governor’s aides were having trouble leaving it to its job.“You can’t say this is an independent commission when you’re trying to tell people what they can do and what they can’t do,” the lawyer said.And Senator Liz Krueger, a Democrat from Manhattan, said, “If the governor stopped certain subpoenas from being sent, it is an outrage.”“If what was reported is true, that there are people in the governor’s office who have directed the commission not to follow through on subpoenas, that is worthy of its own investigation,” she said.
The quashing of the Real Estate Board of New York subpoenas needs to be investigated.
It seems that Cuomo was putting the kibbosh on subpoenas that expose his own corruption and criminality.
So far, he's gotten away with it.
But people in Albany are mad that Sheriff Andy is pointing fingers at them while engaging in his own corruption and criminality.
It seems pretty clear to me that if Sheriff Andy doesn't cave on the Moreland Commission the way they want him to, somebody's going to go after Cuomo for the Real Estate Board of New York connection, the $35 million in tax breaks he handed them, and the Committee To Save New York PAC stuff.
And they'll go after his 2013-2014 legislative agenda as well.
I'm betting Sheriff Andy closes up the Moreland Commission shop sooner rather than later as the Times article says he is now looking to do.
Sheriff Andy has learned the lesson that sheriffs who live in glass governor's mansions shouldn't throw stones.